Thursday 30 October 2008

The Voice - Dear Consumer's Voice

Dear Consumer’s Voice

Two weeks ago while I was in Gaborone (I live in Francistown) I encountered a situation at an internet cafe in which I bought fifteen minutes of internet time and after waiting patiently I didn’t get a connection and the owner refused to refund me my money. To top it off he was very rude about the situation saying that it wasn’t his fault.

As a consumer who was wronged what action can I take and what penalties can be imposed on people like him who have no regard for their customers?

It sounds like you have been badly let down by this Internet cafe.

By not giving you what you had paid for (internet access for 15 minutes) they have failed to honour their obligations under Section 13(1)(a) of the Consumer Protection Regulations which say that a store has failed to meet minimum standards if the commodity or service they sell is not of "merchantable quality".

The Regulations also state (Section 15(1)(a)) that they have failed to meet minimum standards of performance if the service they deliver is "not rendered with reasonable care and skill and such service and any materials used are not fit for any particular purpose made known by the consumer".

Finally they have also failed again to meet minimum standards by refusing to give you a refund when they failed to give you what you had bought (Section 15(1)(e)).

No doubt what they might say is that the problem was beyond their control and blame their Internet Service Provider or BTC but that's not your concern. You paid for something, they failed to deliver it, you deserve your money back. It’s as simple as that.

The bad news is that you are unlikely to be able to prove what you say, unless you have a receipt and can prove somehow that you had no access. However, we would be very happy to call them for you to see what they say if you can give us their contact details.

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